In a word: (or two)
Fine American dining
Anyone looking for the luxuries of fine dining, without the formalities.
Or simply a bar serving good cocktails and even better food.
Located on the fringe of Spinningfields, Neighbourhood has all of the upmarket appeal that you’d expect from this part of Manchester, with none of the pretentiousness. Inspired by Manhattan, New York, the restaurant puts a luxury twist on American cuisine, to reinvigorate these popular flavours for the finer palate.
What’s nice about Neighbourhood is that it’s a restaurant of two halves. For special occasions and romantic meals, the glitzy dining room with leather booths and mirror-topped tables is an intimate setting for an evening of fine dining.
However, head upstairs and you’ll find a more relaxed space with metallic décor, graffiti stamped walls and vibrant neon lighting. Even on a Wednesday, the upbeat atmosphere hinted at how busy this place must get on a weekend. Apparently, you should expect dancing on tables and singing – there’s even a photobooth in the corner to prove it.
Taken to our rather swanky private booth, our hostess Lucy suggested we start with a cocktail (or a beer for my partner) while we browsed the menu. After learning that I liked gin, she was quick off the mark to make suggestions.
Elderflower Martini – £7
Elegant and simple, an elderflower martini set the tone for the restaurant. Served in a tall frosted glass with muddled blackberries, Beefeater, martini, prosecco and elderflower, this autumnal drink felt more New England than New York, but the American influence was clearly there. Refreshing and crisp, it wet our appetites for the meal ahead.
Etchart Privado Malbec Rosé – £7.75, 250ml
Fruity and refreshing without tasting overly sweet, this rosé was an ideal all-rounder to pair with the wide range of treats we chose.
The beauty of the menu at Neighbourhood is that you can either order a selection of dishes from the raw bar and appetisers menu to graze as tapas, or go for the traditional starter and main setup. Eager to try as much of the menu as possible, we opted for a few starter dishes, before moving on to entrées.
Steak Tartare – £14
Raw meat is rarely something I wake up craving, but steak tartare is a delicacy that, done well, is absolutely delicious. Presented as three perfectly round, pink patties, each has its own unique topping; deep-fried shallot with egg yolk mayo; wasabi mayo and peas; tomato salsa and almonds. The last pairing in particular was unexpected – beef and nuts? But we were instantly reassured after tasting it for ourselves. Topped on a slim slice of herby crostini, it made for a truly memorable mouthful of food.
Lobster Tacos – £12
Tacos are a traditionally rough and ready dish – messy but delicious eat-it-with-your-fingers food. Although the choice of lobster filling brought the standard up a few notches, we didn’t expect the dainty presentation too.
Well packed but perfectly bite-sized, the tempura lobster had a thick batter coating and a meaty filling, complemented perfectly by the fresh coriander that cut through the dish. Served with red cabbage slaw and a dash of guacamole, it was a vibrant and colourful choice that left our tastebuds tingling.
Chorizo Croquettes – £6.50
Crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, with salty chorizo and a sweet sun blushed tomato salsa, these croquettes were everything that food should be – perfectly balanced. Moreish and indulgent as they were, what was really exciting about this dish was the padron peppers served on the side.
Lucy enlightened us that although a relatively mild pepper by nature, one in five padrons are actually extremely spicy. I was disappointed (my partner relieved) to find that mine wasn’t only of those rare firebreathing peppers, but we did enjoy the ‘Russian roulette’ type experience all the same.
Miso Marinated Black Cod – £24
This delicate dish was really the crème de la crème of the fine dining concept. With sharp, clean presentation, the thick chunk of flaky cod was coated in a salty miso marinade that contrasted beautifully with the ginger dip. Combined with crunchy toasted quinoa, it was an innovative seafood dish that was light but incredibly satisfying.
National Park Lamb – £23
Lamb can be the best or worst thing on the menu – a true test of the chef’s culinary prowess. These neatly stacked cutlets of pesto-encrusted lamb were balanced on a bed of buttery samphire, served up with a tomato and pine nut concasse. An earthy dish that took you out of the city and into the more rural heartland of the US, it was the perfect contrast to the coastal cod dish.
Broccolini – £4.50
It’s difficult to strike the balance between soggy veg and overly crunchy, but this tenderstem broccoli got it just right. Served al dente with an indulgent topping of cheese sauce, it paired perfectly with the lamb.
Sweet Potato and Sweetcorn Hash – £4
One of the newer arrivals to the Neighbourhood menu, Lucy recommended this popular side dish. Hash is something you’d expect to find in a greasy American diner, so this combination of sweet potato and sweetcorn was a delicious take on a classic US dish – ideal for the cod.
Neighbourhood S’mores – £15
After both Lucy and manager Lee declared this sharing dish to be their favourite on the dessert menu, we simply had to make room to find out why. Sure enough, we weren’t disappointed. Served piping hot in a traditional iron pan, we broke into the centre to find three layers of heavenly indulgence.
A rich, gooey mud pie on the bottom, with soft and sweet marshmallow melted on top, encased in a bubbling crust of half-baked cookie dough, it really was the stuff of foodie dreams. And even after 3 courses, we were left wanting s’mores.
One thing is clear – Neighbourhood is not your usual American dining experience. Showcasing its roots in a subtle but distinct manner, it’s an original concept that works well. Offering fine dining in a relaxed setting, this Spinningfields restaurant and bar has widespread appeal for special occasions, dates, and memorable nights out with friends.